It's vacation season, but if you're a manager with direct reports, you may not plan to take any time off this summer. That’s unfortunate, but it’s not unusual. Most American workers don’t take all their vacation days for whatever reason. You may have plenty of accrued paid time off, yet find it challenging to schedule the right time to be away from the office. You might be concerned about a big project, closing a deal, or just maintaining the day-day performance of your team or department. Your Office Mom has news for you. Things will not fall apart in your absence. If you have a demanding job, tend to work long hours or take work home with you, you need a holiday.
Leaders and managers of all ages and at all levels are hesitant to use their vacation time, and for all the negative stereotypes about millennial entitlement and work ethic, millennials do not take vacation time either. I understand your predicament because I often felt like I couldn't get away. There was too much to do, not enough time to do it, and I didn’t want to burden the team with the extra work. And, if I did go on holiday, I checked email way too often. If you have a similar problem this work advice will help you understand the benefits of getting the hell out of dodge and the steps to take to do it successfully.
Here are two reasons it’s important to take time off, despite the obvious ones:
Your time out of office is a great developmental opportunity for your team members. It provides a time to let your top performers take on more responsibility and a way to encourage other team members to step up. Generally speaking, people like to be involved and prove themselves. And, if you adequately train and prepare people before heading out, you'll find they are motivated and quite capable. If you never leave or only have an afternoon off here and there, you don't give your team a chance to grow. If you’re always around, you don’t strengthen relationships or demonstrate your confidence in their abilities. You provide employees with autonomy to perform tasks and make decisions every day, but you can't create an environment grounded in trust more effectively than when you are out of the office and out of their sight.
When you take a scheduled vacation, or plan a staycation, you get an opportunity too. You have the time to think about your life at work and contemplate your work-life balance. I always seem to have an epiphany or two when I'm vacationing. I figure out how to solve a problem, improve a relationship or how to be a more effective leader. Often things that weren't clear before become so when I take a vacation and unplug. You will likely have the same experience.
So, don’t delay. Submit your paid time off, and start planning your get away. Be sure to review the tips on how to successfully prepare for your vacation and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
What other tips do you have? Please share!